Many of you will remember the previous video game set in the Alien universe, Aliens: Colonial Marines. As someone who dished out a good chunk of change to get the collector’s edition of that game, I understand the disappointment. Though I didn’t TOTALLY hate the game, probably due to its Borderlands-esque control scheme, it just wasn’t polished and the AI was completely ridiculous. But if an Alien shoot ’em up is your kind of game, don’t look for Alien Isolation to do you any favors. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.
What Alien Isolation does gives you perfectly, is a terrifying experience as you step into the shoes of Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, as she looks into the mysterious disappearance of her mother and her spaceship, the Nostromo. The story begins when Amanda receives word that the Nostromo’s flight recorder has been found and is on the space station known as the Sevastopol. Of course things aren’t going so well for the people on this station, because when you arrive, it’s like a ghost town.
Soon enough, you run into some of the stations occupants, some are friendly, some not so much. The game does a good job at getting you accustomed to the controls and survival features as you encounter hostiles along the way. Hopefully you get these techniques down pact because its not too long before the Xenomorph makes its first appearance.
Forget everything you know about past games based on Aliens, at first there is no hope in fighting this monster. IT WILL KILL YOU WITH NO REMORSE! I thought I was clever for awhile and that I was getting pretty good at hiding from it, but I was wrong, DEAD WRONG. The AI of this beast is pretty smart and efficient. I have only played this game on easy, as the internets advised, and I suggest to you as well at first. Don’t even think for a moment that it can’t see you hiding under a desk when it opens a door! If you are in its line of sight, its going to murder you. Nuff said. One of the techniques you’re supposed to learn is how to create a distraction. There are melee items available that you can bang against the wall to get its attention, and then quickly run away and attempt to reach your destination. Oh and if you think the usual fire arm is going to protect you in this game, good luck.
Isolation has a nifty crafting system that allows you to build different items to aid you in your journey through the Sevastopol. You gain the ability to craft an item by finding blueprints that are strewn throughout the station, you then use materials that you acquire from crates and such to craft your tools. They range from pipe bombs, to med kits, to smoke bombs, so as you can see, Amanda has a decent arsenal to take on the monster. What I really like about this game is that it makes you think, it makes being cleaver a REAL thing. Your survival depends on how smart you are when confronted, thinking on your feet! Especially when you increase the difficulty level. Another aspect of this game that I really appreciate, is that movement is something you have to pay attention to. If you run, you attract attention, if you make too much noise, the Alien will come get you. Even your motion tracker will attract it! SO BE CAREFUL every step of the way. This element adds to the terror and suspense of the game! One last tip, when you save, make sure that there are no hostiles nearby. The game will warn you, but don’t make the mistake of saving when the Alien is right behind you.
The story is pushed along as you complete objectives and discover new computer consoles, which give you insight into what exactly happened on the Sevastopol. This is a game where reading gives you a better idea of what happened before you arrived, so be prepared for that. I won’t give too much away, but I really appreciate the storyline that writer, Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy) came up with for this game, and I openly welcome it into the Alien lore. Isolation takes the original horror elements of Ridley Scott‘s masterpiece and delivers a video game experience like no other. I blame this game if I end up with blood pressure problems! I tried playing this in the dark at first and it scared me, I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to play it with an Oculus Rift! It would probably give me a heart attack for sure. The Creative Assembly team did a bang up job of recreating the classic feel of the original movie, along with using elements from the original soundtrack to make the experience as authentic as possible.
I picked up my copy for PS3, as I am one of those people/casual gamer that doesn’t update their console for a couple of years until after release, and I was a little hesitant about it. At first, I tried to convince myself to wait until PS4, but who am I kidding? It’s ALIEN! I am MORE than impressed by the graphics and I’ve read that the PS4 version isn’t that much different. Of course they’re crisper, but the game play is pretty much exactly the same. So props to SEGA for doing the game justice on all systems.
If shooting the crap out of Aliens is your thing, let me strongly caution you on this title. I have read so many people’s reviews criticizing this game, calling it the best “locker simulator” around. Listen people, Isolation is CLEARLY a horror-survival game, something that it does VERY, VERY well. If being stealthy and learning to hide from one of the most terrifying creatures in sci-fi history sounds right up your alley, then this game is for you! I am really looking forward to playing the Nostromo DLC that came with my preorder, and also the upcoming survival modes! I love the Alien-verse. I thank SEGA and Creative Assembly for putting out such an amazing Alien simulator, and giving me the chance to feel a part of this horrific universe!
Alien Isolation is available now on PS4, PS3, XBOX One, XBOX 360, and PC!
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